Ask anyone in the beauty industry, and they will tell you: To know Sam Villa is to be inspired by him. Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken and Co-Founder of the Sam Villa brand, Villa is a beloved educator with a devoted following. This month, the Professional Beauty Association honored Sam Villa with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual NAHAs. “I’m deeply honored,” he says of his 2017 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award. “I’ve had the privilege of finding great purpose through a lifelong passion to teach, and of finding great joy in inspiring others to follow their creative path. The journey has been the reward for me.”
So many industry professionals have unique tales of working with Villa over the years, yet the common themes of passion, sincerity and warmth run through them all. The following stories represent a tiny fraction of the lives he has impacted. “For an industry that has given life to my career, it is an absolute honor for that same industry to give tribute to my achievements,” Villa notes. “All I’ve wanted to do is teach, develop and watch others grow.” Mission accomplished.
Villa’s stage presentations always educate and inspire.
"Sam Villa is a master hairdresser, but what makes him an industry trailblazer is his unwavering dedication to leadership and innovation. I can’t think of anyone who deserves the honor of a Lifetime Achievement Award more than Sam. Congrats, Sam, from all of us here at ARROJO.”—Nick Arrojo, ARROJO Founder
"Five years ago, at the beginning of my journey as a Redken Artist, I had an opportunity to work with Sam. I recognized the look he was working on and started handing him tools. Sam smiled and asked, ‘How did you know I what I needed?’ I told him, ‘I follow you on YouTube!’ He was touched that his work had reached me before he did. From that show on, Sam has supported and guided me. His gracious spirit and leadership has created many avenues for us as hairdressers to learn from and grow our craft. Sam has the ability to see the greatness in us, before we see it in ourselves. Congratulations, Sam Villa! You’re an inspiration to us all!”—Ellen Devine, Redken Artist
"My very first Academy experience at the Redken Exchange was to assist Chris Baran, Phillip Wilson and Sam Villa. I watched in awe at how the words just flowed and Sam’s passion for teaching was so fluid. I knew in that moment my journey had just begun. Like so many, I’ve had the pleasure of listening and presenting alongside Sam at many venues across the country, and the one character trait that always stays with me is how easy he makes it look—and how hard he works to make it seem so easy. Sam is always taking notes and documenting in a huge black binder he carries, perfecting the methods he’s known for today. He is a consummate professional, and it’s no wonder he is being honored for his dedication to and passion for this industry and the salon professionals whose hearts he has touched. Congratulations, Sam, for touching my heart and making an impression on my career and my life.” —George Alderete, Keune North American Creative Ambassador
"I’ll never forget the day Sam told me I should become a Redken Artist. After composing myself, I remember thinking that if I could inspire people just a fraction of how much he inspired me, how amazing could that be? From then on, whether it was in person or by using his tools, Sam has been a part of every moment in my career. I can never find the words to thank him enough for his kindness, encouragement, and sincerity. Now I feel our journey has come full circle, as I have the honor of sharing with the world how much he means to me. Sam saw something in me that I didn’t know existed. He gave me the courage to chase my dreams. He changed my life. He is my hero.”—Heather King, Redken Artist
"I met Sam many years ago, when I was Senior VP of Marketing and Advertising at Redken. I learned very quickly that Sam was not only a talented stylist and educator, but also one of the most passionate and creative artists I’d ever met. His ability to craft and communicate new techniques and ideas has changed and enhanced our industry in so many ways. In 2015, I was honored with City of Hope’s Spirit of Life award. I wanted to showcase how giving stylists are and bring hair artistry to the event. I knew of no better artist to do this than Sam Villa. He graciously accepted my invitation, donated his time and ultimately wowed the crowd with his exceptional talent. In the process, he helped to raise more than $1.2 million to fight cancer.” —Steve Goddard, Pravana President and Founder
"Although we worked for the same company at one point, my admiration for Sam has only grown since then. Beyond his brilliant talent on stages of all sizes, Sam is a man of immense humility, extreme generosity with his time, knowledge and patience, and is perhaps the most energetic and enthusiastic person I’ve ever known. I look forward to seeing him at every industry event, catching up and hearing “Elisa, I just love what you’re doing.” There are few who are so supportive and encouraging. Most importantly, each time I see Sam, I am reminded of why I love this industry and my job so much: the people and the craft. And he is one of the very best of both.”—Elisa Fischer, General Manager, TIGI Americas
"I first met Sam more than 20 years ago when I was assisting him at my first hair show as an educator. The moment I met him I knew I wanted him as my mentor; he went on to serve as my mentor, coach and friend for more than a decade. During this time, he instilled in me confidence and helped me believe I could accomplish anything I set out to do. My goal was to one day be as inspiring, motivational, knowledgeable and engaging as he is on stage. I now have the opportunity to pay it forward, sharing what Sam taught me all those years with other educators to help them accomplish their goals. I will never forget the time I spent at his side as his mentee. Thank you, Sam for being such an amazing person and a true leader.” —Stephanie Polansky, Sexy Hair Director of Education and Shows
About: Sam Villa is Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken and Founding Partner of the Sam Villa brand (Allvus, LLC), designed to bring “More Sam to More People.” The educational world of this Favorite Platform Artist and Educator (2012, 2011 and 2007), Favorite Overall Educator of the Year (2015), can be experienced on www.samvilla.com.